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Justice League
Justiceleague-intro.jpg
Format Animated series
Created by Bruce Timm
Paul Dini
Starring Carl Lumbly
Michael Rosenbaum
Kevin Conroy
Phil LaMarr
Susan Eisenberg
George Newbern
Maria Canals
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 52 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 20-23 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network
Original run November 17, 2001 (2001-11-17) – May 29, 2004 (2004-05-29)
Chronology
Preceded by The New Batman/Superman Adventures and (Static Shock, took place within episodes)
Followed by Justice League Unlimited
Related shows Super Friends

Justice League is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes which ran from 2001 to 2004 on Cartoon Network. The show was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics. After its second season, it became Justice League Unlimited, and ran an additional three seasons.

Contents

History

Animator Bruce Timm, having successfully adapted both Batman and Superman into animated television programs in the 1990s, took on the challenge of faithfully adapting the Justice League comic book and turning it into an animated sequel to his two former animated series. This new animated TV series brought all sorts of new characters. Ignoring the sidekicks, pets and other extraneous elements of the earlier Super Friends show, the line-up of this new JLA adaptation was created with two things in mind: to pay tribute to the original line-up of the Justice League of America while also reflecting racial and cultural diversity. Significantly, the well-known (but much-depreciated) superhero Aquaman was left out of the lineup (although he would be used on the show) in favor of a second female on the team - Hawkgirl - and the African-American Green Lantern John Stewart, who has worked with the League in the comics before, was used rather than one of the better-known modern-era Green Lanterns Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner or Kyle Rayner, even though Rayner had appeared as Green Lantern in the Superman animated series. In addition to his race, the producer felt Stewart's original abrasive personality would have more dramatic potential. (In the second season, Rayner is described as a Lantern in training under Stewart's old mentor, explaining his absence. Both Rayner and Jordan make brief appearances in Justice League Unlimited.) Gardner was never seen in either series.

The show met with significant success, partially due to loyal fans already familiar with these incarnations of the characters, and partially from a new generation of viewers. The two-part nature of most episodes led Cartoon Network to choose to air the episodes back-to-back.

According to audio commentary on the DVD release of Season 2, the second season finale "Starcrossed" was expected to be the final episode of the series. However, in February 2004, Cartoon Network announced a follow-up series, Justice League Unlimited, which premiered on July 31, 2004. Justice League Unlimited features a greatly expanded roster of heroes, usually with only a few appearing in any given episode, although there are a few featuring just about the entire roster fighting against one giant enemy.

Casting and character changes

Title sequence from show opening; containing from left to right, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Flash and Hawkgirl.

Kevin Conroy reprised his voice role as Batman from Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), The New Batman Adventures (1997-1999), and Batman Beyond (1999-2001). Conroy pitched his voice to a range in between the voices he'd used in the previous shows; it was deeper than the voice he used in the first two series, but still higher-pitched than the voice he used in Batman Beyond. In addition, Batman's uniform was also redesigned, given a mixture of his previous animated costumes. It was basically the same Batsuit from The New Batman Adventures, but had the more colorful look from the original series' costume. The mask's "ears" were also extended as a reference to the futuristic Batsuit from Batman Beyond.

Tim Daly, who voiced Superman in Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000), did some early recordings, but was ultimately unable to reprise his role due to his involvement with the short-lived remake series of The Fugitive, and was replaced by George Newbern. Superman was initially redesigned to have a bit of a squint to his eyes and slight wrinkles that was also meant to make him look older, in addition to having a noticeable shining streak to his hair; he was redesigned to appear larger in physical girth than in the previous series. Fans did not like the older appearance and in the second season the streak was toned down to the point of almost disappearing and the squint was removed, in essence Superman reverted to his earlier animated look. As an in-joke, Superman's Season One facial designs are used for an older Jor-El in the Justice League Unlimited episode For the Man Who Has Everything.

Most of the characters retained their general comic book origins and continuity, with Wonder Woman being the notable exception. In the Justice League series continuity, the premiere story arc "Secret Origins" revises the plot of Diana's competition against her fellow Amazons to be the ambassador of peace to man's world, and she is referred to as a "rookie" superhero during her first encounter with the League. (Subsequent episodes touched on her attempts to adjust to her new world). Additionally, the character of The Flash was portrayed as somewhat younger and significantly more brash than his comic book counterpart, taking on a number of personality traits of Plastic Man, who provides a similar comic relief function in the JLA comics. Major changes were also made to the Hawkgirl character. John Stewart's Green Lantern was also changed significantly from the civilian architect in the comic continuity to a hard-nosed former marine for the show.

Maria Canals was cast as Hawkgirl based on her Hispanic accent, which the producers felt would make Hawkgirl appear more foreign and alien against her team mates. The character of Hawkgirl became romantically involved with the John Stewart Green Lantern as the series progressed, while a relationship between Batman and Wonder Woman was also hinted by the show's creators, who disliked the fans' insistence on pairing Wonder Woman with Superman.

In the comic books, the Martian Manhunter / J'onn J'onzz has a power called "Martian Vision" which has been shown both as a beam of pure force (an extension of the telekinesis that allows him to fly), and essentially the same as Superman's heat vision. Neither power was ever shown in the series, except in the ending of the episode Savage Time, dropped presumably in favor of his phasing power, shapeshifting and telepathy. The Martian Manhunter was only referred to by that name in one episode and otherwise called simply J'onn.

Although the series itself is animated in traditional 2-dimensional style, the opening credits are rendered in 3D with toon shading.

Reception

The show has been greatly received by fans, many comparing it to Batman: The Animated Series because of its darker tones, complex writing and storyboarding, and in-depth characterization. The show holds an 8.8/10 on the Internet Movie Database.

In January 2009, IGN named Justice League as the 17th best animated television series of all time.[1]

Cast

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Main cast

Cover art for Justice League Adventures #1.
Art by Bruce Timm and Alex Ross.
Actor Role
George Newbern Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne / Batman
Susan Eisenberg Diana / Wonder Woman
Michael Rosenbaum Wally West / The Flash
Phil LaMarr John Stewart / Green Lantern
Carl Lumbly J'onn J'onzz / Martian Manhunter
Maria Canals Shayera Hol / Hawkgirl

Other recurring characters

Home releases

Season releases
DVD/BD name Release date Ep # Additional information
Season One March 21, 2006 26 Contains a set of 4 DVDs with all of the episodes from the first season as well as audio commentaries, interviews, and other special features. In the 3 part "The Savage Time", the Nazi Swastika was replaced with an "S", most likely for Savage for the DVD release.
Season One August 19, 2008 26 Due to the success of Justice League: The New Frontier in early 2008, Season One has been re-mastered and re-issued as a set of 3 Blu-ray Discs (in full 1080p and with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound) with everything included on the prior release.
Season Two June 20, 2006 26 Contains a set of 4 DVDs with all of the episodes from the second season as well as audio commentaries and a panel discussion involving the production team of the series (although the set packaging indicates a featurette hosted by voice actor Phil LaMarr, it is misprinted, the featurette is on Disc One instead of Disc Four).

Warner Home Video also released another DVD title Justice League The Complete Animated Series. It contained all 91 episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited on a 15 disc set with the 15th disc containing a bonus documentary.

Individual releases
DVD name Release date Additional information
Justice League April 23, 2002 Contains all three parts of "Secret Origins". A mini-DVD version of this disc has also been released.
Justice on Trial April 23, 2002 Contains "In Blackest Night" and "The Enemy Below".
Paradise Lost July 22, 2003 Contains "Paradise Lost" and "War World".
The Justice League Collection April 13, 2004 Contains previous "Secret Origins," "Paradise Lost," and "Justice on Trial" DVDs in a three-pack with a slipcase.
Starcrossed The Movie July 13, 2004 Contains "Starcrossed" in both widescreen and fullscreen. A mini-DVD version of this disc has also been released with only fullscreen.
The Brave and the Bold October 19, 2004 Contains episodes "The Brave and the Bold" and "Injustice for All".
Challenge of the Super Friends to Justice League: Contains the previously released "Justice League" (Secret Origins) DVD along with two Super Friends discs in a slip-case.

See also

References

External links


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